Rhino Massacre at Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve

In a devastating incident that unfolded on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, Searl Derman, the owner of Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve, situated just outside Cape Town in the Western Cape, South Africa, along with his dedicated management and staff, has been left shattered by the brutal killing of four rhinos. Heartbreakingly, one of the rhinos was pregnant.

Anti-Poaching Response Team

Around 10:30 pm, the 24-hour Anti-Poaching Unit made a horrifying discovery during their regular patrols. They stumbled upon a gruesome scene where four rhinos had been shot. Tragically, two of the rhinos had already succumbed to their injuries, while the remaining two, though still alive, were grievously wounded.

Swift action was taken as a fifth rhino was reported missing. Tracking operations were immediately initiated on the expansive 10,000-hectare private game reserve. Simultaneously, management, conservation teams, wildlife veterinarians, law enforcement agencies, and other responders were alerted and dispatched to the scene.

Evidence at the scene pointed to large-caliber rifle rounds from silenced weapons, escalating concerns over the presence of heavily armed poachers. Heartbreakingly, the Anti-Poaching Unit later confirmed the demise of the two injured rhinos, with the devastating revelation that one of the slain females had been pregnant. 

Around 2:00 am on Thursday, the team located the fifth rhino—a female grievously injured with a gunshot wound to her face, yet miraculously still alive.

Searl Derman, owner of the Aquila Collection, expressed his profound shock and stated, “I am horrified to relive this nightmare! As with our previous poaching incident at Aquila Private Game Reserve in 2011, we will again commit to sparing no expense or effort in the pursuit to catch and bring justice to these vicious perpetrators who massacred our rhino.”

In a bid to aid the investigation and capture of the criminals behind this heart-wrenching act, Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve is offering a substantial reward of R100,000.00 for confidential information leading to the successful arrest of the culprits. This senseless act of brutality against rhinos comes at a time when the tourism industry and private game lodges in South Africa are grappling with continued unjustified international travel bans, further exacerbating the challenges they face.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only exacted a social cost but has also left wildlife unwittingly caught in its wake, becoming victims themselves.

In response to the 2011 rhino poaching incident at Aquila Private Game Reserve, the company initiated the Saving Private Rhino NGO and acquired the oldest gun shop in Cape Town—City Guns. City Guns plays a pivotal role in supporting the Anti-Poaching and Rhino Response teams, not only at the Aquila Collection but also at other private game reserves in South Africa.

Through the NGO, Saving Private Rhino, and in collaboration with City Guns, teams receive crucial gear and equipment. The initiative includes free training for private Anti-Poaching Units, game rangers, and government wildlife agencies.

Over the years, Saving Private Rhino has played a significant role in various rhino poaching investigations and the arrest of poachers, including the syndicate responsible for the attack on and killing of Aquila’s rhinos in 2011. At that time, the South African National Defence Force patrolled the Kruger National Park and other state-owned reserves, while organized crime, rather than opportunistic poaching, targeted private game reserves. Unlike government agencies patrolling national parks, private lodges often lacked the resources needed to protect their rhino.

Derman reiterated, “We can assure you that we have already instituted a private forensic investigative team and private investigators on a local, regional, and national level, and we will vigorously pursue these poachers.”

In immediate response, a team of wildlife veterinarians under the leadership of Johan Marais has been dispatched to assess the injuries of the fifth rhino, considering facial reconstructive surgery as a top priority.

As the ongoing pandemic and international travel bans continue to impact private game reserves in South Africa, leaving them more exposed than ever, Derman extended heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated rangers and Anti-Poaching Unit for their unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation, even during these challenging times within the tourism sector.

All information related to the crime scene and investigation remains confidential as authorities have launched a manhunt and inquiry into this heinous act.

To support the investigation and conservation efforts, Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve is creating a reward for information. The public and concerned citizens are invited to make donations to assist with private investigations, forensic teams, medical and veterinary expenses, training, staffing, and rewards meant to motivate informants to provide information.

All funds received will be directly allocated to these internationally acclaimed efforts. For those who wish to contribute, please reach out via info@savingprivaterhino.org, +27(0)83 441

My cart
Your cart is empty.

Looks like you haven't made a choice yet.